The Dog and the Sparrow: Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Summary of “The Dog and the Sparrow”

“The Dog and the Sparrow” is a tale by the Brothers Grimm illustrating the consequences of greed, revenge, and the power of kindness.

The story begins with a sheep-dog who leaves his unkind master due to hunger. He meets a sparrow who promises to help him find food. The sparrow steals meat and bread for the dog, satisfying his hunger. However, the dog’s greed leads to his downfall when he tries to attack the sparrow.

The sparrow warns a passing cart driver about the dog sleeping on the road, but the driver ignores the warning and runs over the dog. Seeking revenge, the sparrow causes the cart driver to lose his wine and horses, eventually leading to his ruin. In a fit of rage, the cart driver destroys his own home while attempting to kill the sparrow, but he accidentally kills himself in the process.

In the end, the sparrow escapes unharmed, leaving behind a trail of destruction caused by the cart driver’s greed and cruelty.

The tale serves as a cautionary reminder of the consequences of mistreating others and seeking revenge. It also highlights the power of wit and cunning, as demonstrated by the sparrow’s ability to outsmart those who wronged him.

The Story of “The Dog and the Sparrow”

There was once a sheep-dog who had not got a kind master, but one who left him to suffer from hunger. When he could bear it no longer, he went sadly away. On the road he met a Sparrow, who said, ‘Brother Dog, why are you so sad?’

The Dog answered, ‘Because I am hungry and I have nothing to eat.’

‘Then,’ said the Sparrow, ‘Brother Dog, come with me to the town, and I will satisfy your hunger.’

So they went to the town together, and when they came to ​a butcher’s shop, the Sparrow said to the Dog, ‘Stay where you are out there and I will peck down a piece of meat.’ He perched upon the stall, and looked about to see that he was not noticed; then he pecked, pulled, and pushed a piece of meat lying near the edge, till at last it fell to the ground. The Dog seized it and ran off with it to a corner, where he devoured it. Then the Sparrow said to him, ‘Now come with me to another shop, and I will pull down another piece so that you may have enough.’

When the Dog had gobbled up the second piece of meat, the Sparrow said, ‘Brother Dog, have you had enough?’

‘Yes, I have had enough meat,’ replied the Dog; “but I haven’t had any bread.’

‘Oh, you shall have some bread too,’ said the Sparrow. ‘Come with me.’ And then he led him to a baker’s shop, where he pecked at a couple of rolls till they fell down. Then, as the Dog still wanted more, he took him to another shop where he pulled down some more bread.

When that was consumed, the Sparrow said, ‘Brother Dog, is your hunger satisfied?’

‘Yes,’ he answered; ‘now let us go and walk about outside the town for a bit.’

So they both went out on to the high-road. Now it was very warm weather, and when they had walked. a little way the Dog said, ‘I am tired, and I want to go to sleep.’

‘Oh, by all means,’ answered the Sparrow; ‘I will sit upon this branch in the meantime.’

So the Dog lay down upon the road and fell fast asleep. While he lay there sleeping, a Carter came along driving a wagon with three horses. The wagon was laden with two casks of wine. The Sparrow saw that he was not going to turn aside, but was going on in the track in which the Dog lay, and he called out, ‘Carter, don’t do it, or I will ruin you!’

But the Carter grumbled to himself, ‘You won’t ruin me,’ cracked his whip, and drove the wheels of his wagon right over the Dog and killed him.

​The Sparrow cried out after him, ‘Carter, you have killed my brother Dog; it will cost you your wagon and your team.’

‘My wagon and my team indeed, what harm can you do me?’ asked the Carter, as he drove on. The Sparrow crept under the tarpaulin and pecked at the bunghole of one of the casks till the bung came out, and all the wine trickled away without the Carter’s being aware of it. When he looked round and saw the wine dripping from the wagon, he examined the casks and found that one was empty.

‘Alas, poor man that I am!’ he cried.

‘Not poor enough yet,’ said the Sparrow, as he flew on to the head of one of the horses and pecked out its eyes. When the Carter saw what he was doing, he seized his chopper to throw it at the Sparrow; but the bird flew away, and the chopper hit the horse on the head, and he dropped down dead.

‘Alas, poor man that I am!’ he cried.

‘Not poor enough yet,’ said the Sparrow. As the Carter drove on with his two horses, the Sparrow again crept under the tarpaulin and pecked the bung out of the second cask, so that all the wine ran out.

When the Carter perceived it, he cried again, ‘Alas, poor man that I am!’

But the Sparrow answered, ‘Not poor enough yet’; and he seated himself on the head of the second horse and pecked its eyes out. The Carter ran up with his big chopper and struck at him; but the Sparrow flew away, and the blow hit the horse and killed it.

‘Alas, poor man that I am!’ cried the Carter.

‘Not poor enough yet,’ said the Sparrow, as he perched on the head of the third horse and pecked out its eyes. In his rage, the Carter struck out at the Sparrow with his chopper without taking aim, missed the Sparrow, but hit his last horse on the head, and it fell down dead.

‘Alas, poor man that I am!’

“Not poor enough yet,’ said the Sparrow. ‘Now, I will bring poverty to your home’; and he flew away.

​The Carter had to leave his wagon standing, and he went home full of rage and fury.

‘Ah!’ he said to his wife, ‘what misfortunes I have had to-day; the wine has all run out of the casks, and my three horses are dead.’

‘Alas! husband,’ she answered, ‘whatever kind of evil bird is this which has come into our house. He has assembled all the birds in the world, and they have settled on our maize and they are eating it clean up.’

He went up into the loft, where thousands and thousands of birds were sitting on the floor. They had eaten up all the maize, and the Sparrow sat in the middle of them.

Then the Carter cried out, ‘Alas, poor man that I am!’

‘Not poor enough,’ answered the Sparrow, ‘Carter, it will cost you your life yet’; and he flew away.

Now the Carter, having lost all that he possessed, went downstairs and sat down beside the stove, very angry and ill-tempered. But the Sparrow sat outside the window and cried, ‘Carter, it will cost you your life.’

The Carter seized his chopper and threw it at the Sparrow, but it only smashed the window and did not hit the bird.

Then the Sparrow hopped in and perched on the stove, and cried, ‘Carter, it will cost you your life.’

The Carter, mad, and blind with rage, smashed the stove to atoms, but the Sparrow fluttered hither and thither till all the furniture,—the little looking-glass, the bench, the table,—and at last the very walls of his house were destroyed, but without ever hitting the Sparrow. At last he caught it in his hand.

‘Then,’ said his wife, ‘shall I kill it?’

‘No,’ he cried; ‘that would be too good for it; it shall die a much worse death. I will swallow it.’ And he took it and gulped it down whole.

But the bird began to flutter about in his inside, and at last fluttered up into the man’s mouth. He stretched out his head and cried, ‘Carter, it will cost you your life yet.’

​The Carter handed his chopper to his wife and said, ‘Wife, kill the bird in my mouth.’ The woman hit out, but she aimed badly and hit the Carter on the head, and down he fell, dead.

The Sparrow, however, flew out and right away.

The Story of “The Dog and the Sparrow”
– Grimm’s Fairy Tales –

The Story of "The Dog and the Sparrow"
The Story of “The Dog and the Sparrow”

Exploring the Moral Lesson of “The Dog and the Sparrow”

“The Dog and the Sparrow,” a classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, offers a rich tapestry of moral lessons that resonate through its narrative. From the perils of hunger to the folly of seeking revenge, this tale serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of kindness, humility, and the repercussions of our actions.

The story opens with the dog suffering from hunger due to his unkind master. His encounter with the sparrow highlights the transformative power of kindness.

Readers are reminded of the significance of extending help to those in need, regardless of their circumstances. The sparrow’s altruism in providing food for the dog underscores the value of compassion and empathy.

Despite the sparrow’s generosity, the dog’s greed leads to his downfall. His insatiable appetite for more meat and bread blinds him to the risks involved. The tale serves as a cautionary tale against the pitfalls of greed and excessive desire. It underscores the importance of contentment and moderation in one’s actions and desires.

When the dog meets his demise, the sparrow seeks revenge against the cart driver. However, each act of retaliation escalates the conflict, resulting in further harm and destruction. Through the sparrow’s actions, readers are reminded of the futility and destructive nature of seeking revenge. It perpetuates a cycle of violence and suffering, ultimately leading to tragedy for all involved.

Despite being small in size, the sparrow outwits the larger and stronger adversaries through cunning and foresight. The tale emphasizes the value of wisdom and humility over brute force. It encourages readers to cultivate intelligence, resourcefulness, and humility in navigating life’s challenges.

In the end, the cart driver reaps the consequences of his actions. His greed, arrogance, and vengeful nature result in his own demise. “The Dog and the Sparrow” underscores the inevitability of facing the consequences of our choices and actions. It serves as a sobering reminder to reflect on our behavior and its potential outcomes.

In Conclusion

“The Dog and the Sparrow” offers a timeless moral lesson that transcends its fairy tale setting. Through its vivid characters and gripping narrative, readers are encouraged to embrace kindness, eschew greed, and consider the consequences of their actions. In a world fraught with challenges and conflicts, the wisdom gleaned from this tale serves as a guiding light towards a path of empathy, humility, and reconciliation.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Grimm’s Fairy Tales

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

The Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen) is a collection of folk stories recorded by the two brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Within these tales, children are invited to immerse themselves in a world filled with powerful fairy godmothers, beautiful princesses accompanied by brave princes, wicked witches, and ferocious monsters…

In addition, to the aforementioned “Briar Rose” story, presents a myriad of other captivating tales within the Grimm Brothers’ collection. Each narrative carries valuable lessons about morals and life.

Do not miss the opportunity to explore and delve into the enchanting world of Grimm’s Fairy Tales at FairyTales.Love.

Leave a Comment